YOU CAN’T BUY Christina Wood’s baked goods at a bakery — she doesn’t have one yet. But her bicolor croissants have been showing up on Instagram since her first Seattle pop-up last summer, at Herkimer Coffee near Ravenna. They’re filled with seasonal fruit — in early September in Seattle, it’s still cherries, with the croissant dough patterned in burnished brown and a beautiful berry-red.
She calls her no-bakery bakery Temple Pastries, because to her, baking is an art and a ritual, one she says gives her life meaning. Eating a Temple pastry can do the same, in the best little way, for your day.
Wood was getting a degree in accounting — not that much of a stretch for the precise, organized mind of a pastry chef — when she thought, “I’m kind of bored with this.” After coming to Seattle from Gainesville, Florida, in 2015, she worked at Bakery Nouveau and Cafe Besalu before branching out on her own. She’s quick to credit Instagram for the notion of the bicolor croissant — she says she follows high-end pastry chefs all over the world, looking for ideas. “I’m constantly pushing myself to come up with new things,” she says. “It keeps the romance alive!” She’s kind of joking, but not really.
She’s serious about sustainability, also sourcing flour locally and pushing herself to use different kinds — like buckwheat, rye and whole wheat — than ordinarily found in pastries. Differences in gluten, in how they respond to handling and stretching, make this more challenging, and for her, that’s more fun — not to mention supporting biodiversity. “Monocultures are boring,” as Temple Pastries’ website puts it. Making a rye chocolate croissant might be harder, but for her, harder is better.
Getting your mitts on one of her specialties requires the pleasurable errand of a trip to one of a roster of local cafes, including Analog Coffee on Capitol Hill, Milstead & Co. in Fremont, or Five Stones Coffee Co. in Bellevue and Redmond (find the full list at templepastries.com). She was providing the buckwheat and lemon shortbread cookies below to cafes for a while, but, she says, they weren’t really selling. They’re not as glamorous as a bicolor croissant, and, Wood says, “It’s hard figuring out what people are willing to take a chance on with their morning routine. Maybe the buckwheat was too much of a scary thing!” She laughs.
“Shortbread is so underrated,” Wood says. (For what it’s worth, not by me — with a cup of coffee, it’s the real breakfast of champions.) It’s her favorite type of cookie, “after chocolate chip, obviously.” (She makes a mean one of those, too — soft and caramelly brown with just the right amount of sea salt, light in texture and containing not only Guittard dark chocolate chips but also Theo cocoa nibs for little crunches of interest. Also great for breakfast!)
Wood knows of one Temple Pastries fan who’s going to be very happy to get this recipe because they miss this shortbread so much. Her pro tips for that person and maybe for you: Use high-quality butter, “because that’s going to be a really strong flavor in it” (yay!); spring for Bob’s Red Mill for the buckwheat; and don’t overmix, especially once you put the flour in, to avoid a tough cookie.
Temple Pastries’ Buckwheat and Lemon Shortbread Cookies
Yield: about a dozen cookies, depending on the shape you choose
¾ cup plus 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, room temperature
⅓ cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar
Zest of 1 lemon
2 cups all-purpose flour
¼ cup buckwheat flour
½ teaspoon kosher salt
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Using the paddle attachment on a stand mixer, mix butter, sugar and lemon zest on low speed until smooth with no butter chunks remaining, about two to three minutes. Stop the machine, and scrape down the bowl every so often to get an even consistency.
3. Sift the flours and salt together.
4. Add dry ingredients to butter mixture, and mix on low speed just until incorporated.
5. Turn the dough out onto a piece of parchment paper, and pat gently into a rough rectangular shape. (Very slightly damp or oiled hands will help keep the dough from sticking to you without adding flour, which will toughen the cookies.)
6. Roll dough between two sheets of parchment to ½-inch thickness.
7. Refrigerate on a flat surface at least 30 minutes. At this point, the dough can be wrapped in plastic and stored in the fridge for up to two weeks or in the freezer for up to one month.
8. Once the dough is firm, take the top parchment off, and slice into desired shapes with a knife. (We do triangles with 3-inch sides.)
9. Place on a parchment-lined baking sheet, and bake in the center of the oven for 15 to 20 minutes, just until the edges begin to show the tiniest hint of color.
10. Let cool completely on the pan. The cookies can be stored airtight at room temperature for up to three days.
The opinions expressed in reader comments are those of the author only and do not reflect the opinions of The Seattle Times.